How A Hippie Alcoholic Set The World On Fire
by Jesse Miller
I want to tell you the story of a hippie alcoholic druggie that set the world ablaze with the love of God. His name is Rodney Davis, and he has been in heaven for a few years, but before he left earth, he did much for the Kingdom. But maybe not in the way you would think…
In the early 1970s, a young man named Peter Gallardo was transplanted to Anchorage, Alaska from a small Texas town bordering the Rio Grande. He landed a job as a cook at a popular Mexican restaurant, and things were headed in the right direction. The owner loved him, and he became close to his work friends. So close in fact, that they sucked him in to their pot circle of puff puff pass.
Enter Rodney Davis.
“Hey Peter man, you need to hear about this man named Jesus. He’s one totally groovy dude.”
If you can picture Cheech and Chong telling you to get saved, you will get the drift.
This went on for a while, and Peter continually said no. Then Rodney heard about Billy Graham’s movie playing in the theater across the street called Time to Run. For some reason, Peter decided to go. He smoked 2 joints and headed over. It was this night in October of 1974 that Peter Gallardo gave his heart to God. Because a stoned Rodney Davis told him he needed to get saved and convinced him to see a movie.
In the years that followed, Peter went on to graduate from 2 Bible Colleges, work as an Associate Pastor, and then he founded Family Christian Center in Palmer, AK in 1987. Thousands of people have been saved and set free from this small church over the last 30 years. Some missionaries receive their full-time support from this church, and with a paid off building and small staff, the church is able to give 50% of its income to local and worldwide missions. When the church celebrated 30 years of ministry in Thanksgiving of this year, people came from around the world to show their support for this humble man and his amazing wife Janet who have stayed faithful to the call all these years.
I had the privilege to work alongside this man of God and learn what it truly means to be a pastor. My life is forever impacted by the love and heart he has for local and worldwide missions. It may have never been possible had it not been for Rodney Davis.
What became of Rodney? The years dragged on, and Peter continued to reach out to him, pray for him, and urge him to get his life together. Rodney stayed an alcoholic until he died 8 or 9 years ago. But what about his legacy? There’s no doubt that many people close to him wrote him off years ago as a loser, and a druggie, and a lost cause. But what of the one person I know that he led to Christ? What if there are others?
Is Sampson’s contribution invalid because he was a philandering liar? According to the Word, it seems like he did more in the last minute of his life for the Kingdom than everything leading up to it. Or Peter’s denial of Christ? Forget the 3,000 people that got saved on his first sermon after Jesus ascension – we usually focus on the failure and not the finale.
Instead of writing a blog about the steps to evangelism, I chose to share this story with you because effective evangelism is built on a belief, not a 10 step program.
And while most Christians believe that evangelism is good, and the right thing to do, it hasn’t moved far enough to the point where it governs not just what they think, but what they say and do.
There are different reasons for this, but I think the most common is that they don’t feel qualified enough.
I shared Rodney’s story so that you can see the impact of 1 conversation, 1 suggestion, 1 movie. You have more influence than you think. It wasn’t a fancy sermon, or a Biblical studies professor that shared the gospel with Peter – it was a drugged out hippie alcoholic. No one that has ever lived was qualified to be an evangelist! A quick look through scripture will show you powerful stories of liars, thieves, abusers of power, womanizers, murderers, and the worst of the worst being used in amazing ways. The only requirement to share the gospel is that you share the gospel.
Don’t worry, I won’t stand on a soapbox, and I won’t tell you how bad you are if you don’t share. But I will tell you the thrill of sharing with one person far outweighs the embarrassment of rejection. You see, if you truly believe that Jesus saves you from hell, and hell on earth, and then you act on that belief that this information is too important to be kept to yourself, it will overflow in your everyday life.
You will soon find yourself entering into conversations with people, and giving them hope. You may find yourself doing random acts of kindness with the intention of showing them God’s love in a practical way. If you get really radical, you may even mention Jesus in a Facebook post! There is one thing that is sure: There is no right way to share the Gospel! There is no time limit after someone gets saved before they can share. Everyone can let their light shine bright!
Over the years, I have had the privilege of leading hundreds to the Lord. But I have been in full-time ministry. So don’t get bogged down with numbers or comparison. Just make sure that your conversations with people aren’t dominated by your beliefs about money, politics, weather, or any of the meaningless things we have strong opinions about. The main reason people don’t evangelize is because they aren’t full enough to overflow. Make time to get full today!
For more info on ministry, evangelism, and becoming a devoted Christ-follower, I wrote a book called Red Letter Ministry. You can purchase it from Amazon at this link, or directly from me for $5:http://a.co/3r1eKba